It’s being called the “One57 of Assisted Living,” and though the location near Billionaires’ Row and the exorbitant price points (rooms are expected to start at $20,000 a month, not covered by insurance) back up that claim, the team behind the project describes the building’s design as being inspired “by classic Park Avenue apartment houses.”
The Wall Street Journal brings the first official rendering of the 15-story structure that will rise at the northeast corner of East 56th Street and Lexington Avenue, replacing a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant to offer assisted-living and memory-care services to wealthy Manhattanites. Designed by SLCE Architects, it will feature private apartments, some of which will have terraces. “This is a place where these people can be reminded of things in their past, potentially by the design of the building and by the location of the building and have a significantly better quality of life,” said Thomas DeRosa of co-developer Welltower Inc., clearly referring to nearby Park Avenue dwellers.
Welltower is the country’s largest senior-housing owner by market value, with 72 senior housing properties in the tri-state area. Earlier this year they teamed up with developer Hines (who is also behind the nearby MoMA Tower) to purchase the site for $115 million with plans to demolish the T.G.I. Friday’s next year. When the project was first reported by Bloomberg, we learned that it would have ground-floor retail space that would be “a place where residents can mingle with others who live and work in Midtown.” The rendering seems to back this up with a wrap-around glass portion at street level. This account also noted that monthly rent would cover the room, medical care, and food.
As 6sqft previously noted, “seniors make up one of New York’s fastest growing populations with nearly 1.5 million aged 60 or over.” And projections from the NYC Department for the Aging put this number at 1.86 million by 2040, which would make up more than 20 percent of the population. So it’s no surprise that investment in senior housing has grown, especially that in assisted-living facilities with care for dementia-related conditions.
On the business end of things, as the Journal points out, these types of facilities require less support than a nursing home and typically house residents who are paying on their own, as opposed to utilizing government programs like Medicaid that are “susceptible to cuts.” Tommy Craig, senior managing director at Hines, explained, “what we liked about this as an economic matter [is] it’s on a demographic curve and not an economic cycle.” But $20,000 a month is still a steep ask when, in 2013, the median income for New Yorkers over the age of 65 was $18,300.
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Neighborhoods : Midtown East